Train Travel in Italy Post COVID-19

train seats

Updated 22 May 2021

Italy is much quieter year, but Italians are looking forward to a fairly normal summer all things considered (at least to so-called Yellow Zones with low infection rates). And now with the announcement that travel to Italy in 2021 will be possible for some, I expect that train travel will start to pick up. This means that trains are running around the country, but some things have changed for Italian trains because of coronavirus. 

Since the start of the pandemic, we have traveled in Lazio, Puglia, and Veneto by train. There are new security measures in place that you should know about before you get on board. If you plan to travel around Italy by train in our post-COVID-19 world, here is what you should expect:

Masks are mandatory at all times. From the moment you step into the station, you must be wearing a mask. Pharmacies in Italy sell 10 surgical masks for €5 so they are easy to find. Masks that properly cover your nose and mouth must be kept on for the entire train journey. The AC seems to be working on all the trains we have taken, so you stay comfortable despite the face covering.

mask on a train

Temperature checks. Based on the standard in Rome, I expected more temperature checks. However, all we have seen are spot checks in Venice before boarding as well as a crowd thermal scanner at Termini. In Rome, this seems to only be scanning the arrivals from high above the crowd and we have not seen anyone stopped.

All trains are running at half capacity. It does not matter if you take a regional train, a FrecciaRossa high speed train, or book with Italo – half the seats are blocked off. This is to ensure social distancing despite the enclosed space. If you have a reserved seat, this means you will automatically have more space because no one, not even a family member, can sit next to you. If you are going on a regional train, try to travel off-peak hours because there are far fewer places to sit and you are not allowed to congregate closely together near the doors. For fast trains, you will want to keep buying tickets in advance to be sure you snag a seat on your preferred train.

train seat with no sitting sign

Boarding and Exiting. Speaking of doors, most trains have specified specific doors as entrata (entrance) and uscita (exit). Keep in mind that you may have to get off a different door than where you boarded, but there will be arrows on the ground to guide you.

Disinfectant and Cleanliness. All high-speed trains have a cleaning person on board. They walk up and down the train to disinfect seats when people get off, as well as to clean the bathrooms regularly. There is also hand gel at every train door, even on regional trains. (The regional train bathrooms are also the cleanest I have ever seen them and stocked with – shocker – toilet paper).

sanificato sign on train door

Food service. There is no hot food service on any trains. The dining cars are closed (you can walk through them but can’t stand in them). Vending machines, when on board, are working normally. First-class beverage service is also taking place. And if you ride train Italia, everyone gets water regardless of their ticket class. In comes in a paper bag with a free mask, gloves, and headrest cover.

train vending machine with hand gel

Have you noticed anything else? (Note: the main image in the post is from pre-coronavirus. Magazines are now digital-only).

Here is a general guide to train travel in Italy to help you plan your next trip.

5 thoughts on “Train Travel in Italy Post COVID-19

    • Natalie says:

      I am also really sensitive to smells (they will give me an instant headache), but I don’t find these offensive.

  1. Mary says:

    Hi, am heading to Rome on one of the “special covid flights” from JFK next month. Then heading to Florence. Prior to this, I know that you had to find your own way rather than public transportation, but if I’m on this special flight where I do not have to quarantine once I land, want to know if I can then take the train to Florence?

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